There are over 75 Special Edition Corvettes out there, so I couldn’t profile them all. That would be a book. If you want something profiling all of the Special Edition Corvettes, check out Kieth Cornett’s book on the subject. With that said, I thought It worth it to pull together a personal list of the top Special Edition Corvettes and rank them as I see fit. This isn’t a list of the fastest Corvettes out there or the ones that bring the most at the auction block, they’re simply some of my favorites starting with my 10th most favorite and going up to the ultimate model in my opinion. You may have your own favorite Special Edition Corvette you think deserves to be on this list or right up at the top. Leave a comment at the bottom, and we can discuss why you’re probably wrong.
2004 Corvette Z06 Commemorative Edition
Chevrolet decided to send the C5 off with a special edition, and it’s the one I’ll start this list off with. The 2004 Z06 Commemorative Edition got a Le Mans blue paint job to remember the C5.R’s racing heritage. There were also some silver and red accents that ran the length of the car. The vehicle got a carbon fiber hood and the words “Commemorative 24:00 Heures Du Mans 2 GTS Wins” were featured in the Corvette logo. It’s the best-looking the C5 ever was.
2009 Corvette GT1 Championship Edition
The GT1 Championship Edition was the car build in 2009 to honor Chevrolet’s successful racing pedigree with the car. By 2009, Corvette Racing had 70 wins and eight ALMS championships to hold up and smile about. The GT1 Championship Edition was available in coupe form, convertible, or Z06. Although the GT1 was little more than an appearance package, it’s one of the best-looking ones out there.
2019 Corvette ZR1
Some of you may have put this higher on the list. It is, after all, the car that marks the end of the era for the front-engine Corvette. It is the peak, the pinnacle of the design. A 65-year old tradition that will disappear with the new mid-engine model. The 2019 ZR1 has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 755 hp 715 lb-ft of torque. It is the true Corvette King at least for right now, but it is not my favorite and comes in at number eight.
1996 Corvette Grand Sport
The blue and white car with the red accent stripes in the photo above is the 1996 Corvette Grand Sport. It’s one of the first cars I really remember staring at a picture of for an extended period of time. The Grand Sport model came with a healthy bump of 30 hp but used the same 5.7-liter V8 and only came in this now iconic paint job. The red and black interior is emblazoned in my mind, too—not all models got the red interior. The C4, in general, doesn’t get enough love, and this one is a perfect reason why.
2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon
The 2011 Z06 Carbon had a humongous 7.0-liter V8 that made 505 hp, it could do the 0 to 60 sprint in 3.7 seconds, and was a true performer in terms of handling thanks to adjustable magnetorheological shocks and carbon ceramic brakes. The car looked like a beautiful badass, too, with dark black wheels from the ZR1 and a gorgeous dark blue paint job. According to Tadge Juechter, Corvette’s chief engineer, the Z06 Carbon could sometimes shave three seconds off the regular Z06’s lap times. Impressive.
1978 Silver Anniversary Edition
To mark the Corvette’s 25th birthday, Chevrolet built something like 15,000 of the Silver Anniversary Edition. As you can imagine, it was silver. Actually, it came in a beautiful two-tone paint job that only looks better with time. It was also a curvy and wonderful C3 with aluminum wheels and special mirrors. Although it wasn’t some monster performance model, it was one of the most attractive versions of the Vette ever to grace this fine earth.
1969 Corvette Stingray L88
The 1969 Corvette Stingray L88 was built in very limited numbers. I see different numbers around the web from 116 at Barrett Jackson to 216 at Car and Driver. Whatever the case may be, there aren’t many of them out there. And the ones that are out there are wicked awesome. To start, you have the C3’s sensuous curves. It’s a truly sexy car. Then you have the fact that the car got a highly-modified version of the 457-cubic-inch V8 engine and made somewhere in the neighborhood of 580 hp. Finally, the fact that it was the Father of Corvette’s (Zora Arkus-Duntov) brainchild should be enough to convince you that its one of the best Corvettes ever.
1963 Corvette Grand Sport
If it weren’t for the top two Vettes on this list, I’d have this one listed first. The 1963 Corvette Grand Sport gives me needs. Apparently, General Motors was building this for Le Mans but the racing program got canceled before the car could race. Not before the company could build five of them, though. Those five cars are now worth millions of dollars each. The C2 Corvette is my favorite body style despite how sexy the C3’s curves are.
2018 Corvette Carbon 65
Being a Corvette fan in 2018 was easy. The Corvette lineup is stronger than it has ever been. The 2018 Corvette Carbon 65 sticks out to me as one of the bright spots. To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Corvette, Chevrolet decided to build 650 models of the Corvette Carbon 65. The model adds carbon fiber elements to the exterior of the car, including a new rear spoiler and quarter ducts. The interior is special for the model and the package was available on Grand Sport and Z06 models.
2017 Corvette Grand Sport
Maybe it’s because I drove this car at a Chevrolet event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport stands out to me as one of the best Corvettes of all time. You get the strong 6.2-liter V8 that makes 460 hp from the Corvette Stingray and the bodykit and suspension from the modern Z06. I only got one lap around the track in this car, but it was a lap I’ll never forget. Every track day event I attend I wish I had this car at my disposal. It offers the best of both the worlds of the Z06 and the Stingray.